Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Time for War: CW Eldar v. Daemons

Deep within the fortress-yomamasteries of the planet Saddius Prime, there was heard a wailing.  It was one of pain, of loss, of yearning.  The Vaginus Custodes regarded the crying ones with eyes of metal that could not shed tears.  "It's not fair!"  The broken ones cried.  "It's not fair!"  Was it a fresh cry, or an echo among the endless corridors?  Outside, a Whambulance tore through the atmosphere, weighted with those who could not wage war.  They would find a dusty end here.  Within this forgotten planet, all those who had too much bitch in them would forever decry the war.  Outside, the war would continue.

Well, I figured I had to ACTUALLY play a game to see if scatspam was ACTUALLY the end of the world.  Things move slow in the warp, and it usually takes a while for things to spin up.  I rolled a game this week and have another one planned next week against these hated space elves.  It's easy to get caught up in theoryhammer, mathhammer, nailhammer, etc., and never get around to seeing how the dice lay.
Primarily, I have been running the summon factory as a summon factory, dedicated to pumping out daemonettes like a welfare mother and seeker chariots like American automakers.  That's been working okish for me, but wasn't providing the real pain-train I want.  Really, I would shit out a bunch of daemons, they would die, and then my original army would try to do some work.  Or my opponent's army would be not that great, and I would think, boy, daemonettes are awesome.
Getting mad about scatspam made me suddenly realize I have a ton of S6 shooting, and getting mad about D made me realize I have a lot of high strength AP1/2 shooting.  I just wasn't using it.  If I can remove my opponent's ability to wage war, then I can remove their ability to destroy me.  Duh.  So if they can erase my summoned units, I need to erase the things that can erase before I summon anything.  Standard eraser-causal-inference loop.

So my approach to this was - remove the things that menace my summoned units before I bother to summon.  Have impossible to kill pinks hold the line until my screamers come in, laden with mind bullets, in a tactically superior position.  Basically, I decided to play drop pod assault.  Really, bear with me.  If each Tzerald has bolt of change and flickering fires, I have the equivalent of three autocannons(average) and a plasma cannon.  Sometimes better, sometimes worse.  Eight screamers produce 8d3 slashing attacks, IE 12 S4 hits, IE exactly what you would expect 9 bolters rapid firing to produce.  The difference is I have invulnerable and cover saves and go wherever I want instead of sitting on an objective and dying, and can spread all my attacks around.  My assault starts on the second turn, and the comparison breaks down once ravening claw-girls start tearing through the warp on turn three.
Enough talking, on to hitting!

CW Eldar -
LOW - Lynx
CAD Eldar -
Farseer (ML3, all that elf psychic gear)
6x Windrider w/ Scatter Laser
6x Windrider w/ Scatter Laser
6x Windrider w/ Scatter Laser
6x Windrider w/ Scatter Laser
Seer Council Formation -
Farseer (ML3, more brain gems)
Farseer(ML3, bedazzled cerebellum)
7x Warlock
Skyshield Landing Pad
This is Clayton's first game with the new codex.  It's quite close to the list he took 27th at the LVO with, with Scatter Bikes instead of Wave Serpents.  This is at least our fifth game against each other, so he's pretty familiar with my tricks.  Though we found out our hubris keeps us from learning some rather basic things about each other's armies.
He got the -1 to reserve rolls warlord trait, pretty good against daemons.  I think he got all the psychics he wanted, including the full buff tree for the council.  His CAD farseer joined the Seer Council and the Lynx deployed on the skyshield.

Daemons -
CAD Daemons -
Tzerald, ML3, Disc, Locus of Conjuration, Exalted Reward (book) - Bolt, Possession, Cursed Earth
Tzerald, ML3, Disc, Locus of Conjuration - Firestorm, Bolt of Change, Infernal Gateway
Tzerald, ML3, Disc, Locus of Conjuration - Infernal Gaze, Cursed Earth, Firestrom
Tzerald, ML3 - Infernal Gaze, Possession, Summoning
Kairos Fateweaver - Endurance, Prescience, Sunburst, Psychic Shriek, Sacrifice
17x Pink Horrors, Icon - Incursion
17x Pink Horrors - Incursion
8x Screamers
8x Screamers
8x Screamers
Aegis Defense Line, Comms Relay
Pretty standard screamerstar plus screamer very bright spots.  What I've felt like is the competitive edge of daemons for quite some time.  I've overcome my dislike of the Kairos tax and just learned to lean in.

ITC Mission 1 - Emperor's Will
Deployment -
I placed my Aegis between two buildings in the center and put all my horrors behind it.  They were visually screened to my left and right, and had the Aegis in front.  Kairos wedged into a building where he couldn't be seen for at least two turns of moving and shooting on the jetbikes part.  The foot herald is joined to the icon squad of horrors. The Disc Tzeralds and Screamers are reserved, one herald to a squad.
Clayton put three scatsquads on the left side of the table; the lynx, shield, council and one group of bikes are placed on the right.
I'm going first, Clayton fails to seize, no night fight.

Turn 1 -
I cast sacrifice with Kairos to make a Tzerald with Cursed Earth and Possession.  Then cast cursed earth and summon a unit of pinks to fill out the aegis.
Clayton gave me the guns and buffed his seer council.  He killed six pinks with their combined fury.  Here was the first big better than serpents moment - without ignores cover derpa shields, my pinks are rock-hard with a 2+ re-rollable behind the aegis.   The seer council boosted behind my lines and got ready to charge next turn.


Turn 2 -
Everybody came in.  My least valuable squad psychic-wise was the only one that got out of position to really reduce their damage potential.  Kairos moved up with two squads of screamers to menace the left flank; one squad of screamers strikes on the icon to deal with the scatbikes on the right side.
Bolts of Change, which we're playing do not offer a chance to jink because they don't target a unit, kill 3-4 bikes apiece, and flickering fires mop up the remainders.  I throw some infernal gateways to force the rest of the bikes to jink.  One squad dead on the left side and one weakened to three.  The squad on the right is destroyed with screamer slashing attacks.  All the screamers are far enough away from the council to not get caught in CC.  In particular, one squad is on the skyshield saying hey to the Lynx.
Clayton - The scat bikes bounce to the lower left corner where my objective is.  Firing is ineffective.  The Lynx goes supersonic and goes into reserves.  The seer council multi-charges a squad of ObSec pinks and the summoned unit, wiping both after daemonic instability does it's thing.  In the telling beginning of a pattern, a warlock is lost to blue horrors.

Turn 3 -
Two units of screamers consolidate onto the skyshield and, with Cursed earth, are rocking a 3++.  Awesome.  I book Kairos and drop him so he can turn around.  Some innefective mind bullets occur.  I run my summoned herald into the open and try to cast possession, fail with a perils.
Clayton - The seer council smashes into the remaining unit of pinks, who somehow hold.  The lynx comes back and fails to do anything impressive, along with the remaining scatter bikes.  3 screamers are lost to their ineffective fury.  The CAD warlock separates from the council and gates over to the lynx.  Six bikes are turned towards the lone, unpossessed herald with predictable results.

Turn 4 -
Kairos gets into position to toast the remaining scatter bikes, which he does with a heaping helping of mind bullets, shriek and bolt of change.  The foot herald turns into a lord of change, and the locked pinks cast incursion.  Literally 2/3 of my psychic phase goes through Kairos' brain, who also summons a Slerald w/ Seeker Chariot.  Screamers strip 4 HP from the lynx.
Clayton - The CAD warlock gates onto my objective, hanging out next to Kairos.  The council moves towards the center and fails a charge against my booked, cursed earth screamer squad.  Probably better for them, all told.

Turn 5 -
Between a vector strike and mind bullets, the CAD farseer dies.  At this point, it's just the seer council, and I've never gotten to punch one in the dick before, so I line up two squads of screamers and Kairos to light 'em up.  They are as effective with 20+ dice as 34 blue horrors have been.  Damn.  I should have just charged them with the booked screamer squad, but instead just fart around and make some dubious moves trying to get good slashing attacks while grabbing the his objective. 
Clayton - Saves the greatest minds of his craftworld by flying off the board.  Discretion, valour, all that.

Came in expecting to get my dick punched, and instead I did the punching.  I'll never forgive GW for making me rework my tactics.


  1. Interesting game. I never expected screamerstar daemons to do so well, but I guess they do overpower the Eldar in terms of psychic dice regardless. While I do think the sceramerstar is powerful, I really, really do not like the way it plays, nor it's dependence on Fateweaver, the grimoire, or psychic powers in general. You used the discipline of change very well; I never would have thought of using bolt of change to ignore jink saves, which is a brilliant tactic.

    Cheers for the good game

    1. Thanks! Screamers are one of the standout units in the daemon codex. They're cheap, two wound models with amazing mobility and faux-shooting.
      I definitely agree that competitive daemons is a little boring/annoying - depending really on the warp storm table, psychic dice, going first, and of course the grimoire. Daemons have a sheer volume of dice that usually generate effects very close to statistical norms, but then are very at the mercy of single dice flops.